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Pagan News Beagle: Faithful Friday, August 12

A look at dance as a part of Hinduism's sacred traditions. A discussion of religion's declining value with the American public. And a Jew discusses the complexity of identity for the ethnoreligious group. It's Faithful Friday, our weekly segment on faiths and religious communities from around the world! All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!

Religion and art have long been entwined throughout history. Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, and more all stand out as well-known examples of religious art. But that's just the visual arts. In many ways the performing arts can influence and be influenced by religion as well. In Hinduism Today, Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami discusses the role of dancing within the Hindu tradition.

Many religious leaders were reputably non-violent, from Jesus Christ to Mahatma Gandhi. But being non-violent doesn't mean compliance or inaction in the face of injustice. At, Eric Alexander explains the difference between "non-violence" and "blandly appealing to peace."

For generations, Americans have looked to organized religion (particularly within Protestant Christianity) for social guidance and moral support in combating their country's problems. But many Americans today are skeptical of religion's power to affect positive change.

When one religious group holds advantage over another it is the former's responsibility to treat the latter with tolerance and compassion. Unfortunately, all too frequently those in power prefer to repress those with different viewpoints. However, things may be changing in Myanmar where national leaders are preparing to take action against the long-ignored oppression of the country's Muslim minority by its Buddhist majority.

Some religions are purely ideological and have no particular ethnic associations (like Christianity). Others are deeply rooted in a particular culture. Judaism is among the latter, which complicates matters both for converts to Judaism from other religions as well as Jews who've either lost their faith or converted to other religions. Gregory Eran Gronbacher grapples with these issues at Patheos, explaining how Jewish identity is often difficult for gentiles to intuit.

Top image by Wagaung

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Aryós Héngwis (or the more modest Héngwis for short) is a native of the Pontic-Caspian steppe, born some 5000 years ago, near the village of Dereivka. In his youth he stood out from the other snakes for his love of learning and culture, eventually coming into the service of the local reǵs before moving westward toward Europe. Most recently, Aryós Héngwis left his home to pursue a new life in America, where he has come under the employ of BBI Media as an internet watchdog (or watchsnake, if you will), ever poised to strike the unwary troll.


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